Preview: Crusaders v Leeds

Crusaders could field eight debutants in their side for the opening Super League match of the season against Leeds Rhinos this Friday in Wrexham (kick-off 8pm).

Great Britain internationals Gareth Raynor and Jamie Thackray, both signed from Hull FC in the close season, are both included, as are Nick Youngquest, Vince Mellars, Michael Witt, Rocky Trimarchi, Tommy Lee and Frank Winterstein.

The squad also includes four Welsh internationals, all of whom were in the side that beat Scotland to win the European Cup last year, Wales skipper Jordan James, Ben Flower, Lloyd White and Elliot Kear.

New Zealand World Cup winner Greg Eastwood is set to make his first appearance for Leeds Rhinos after being given the all clear by specialists to return to action.

Eastwood had an operation on his wrist following an injury picked up whilst on international duty with New Zealand in the Gillette Four Nations but he has been named in Brian McClennan’s 19 man squad for the trip to Wrexham to take on Crusaders RL on Friday night, kick off 8pm.

Fellow new signing Brett Delaney is also included to make his debut at centre whilst Keith Senior and Ryan Bailey are set to make their first appearance since last year’s Grand Final following minor operations in the close season.

Crusaders (from): Youngquest, Mellars, Raynor, Witt, O’Hara, Withers, Bryant, Chan, Trimarchi, Dyer, Lee, Winterstein, Peek, Thackray, James, Flower, White, Kear, Lupton.

Leeds (from): Webb, Donald, Delaney, Senior, Hall, McGuire, Burrow, Leuluai, Buderus, Jones-Buchanan, Lauitiiti, Sinfield, Diskin, Eastwood, Bailey, Kirke, Ablett, Burgess, Watkins.

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